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Drug Use | Myths

There are many myths associated with drug use and abuse. Debunking these myths is the first step in understanding how drug use affects society and how we can tackle the problems associated with it head-on. Below are just a few of the  myths that need to be understood.

Common Myths

  • Education can prevent addiction. While a good drug education program can certainly deter some people from trying drugs, education cannot completely prevent drug use and it certainly cannot prevent addiction. Once continued use takes place, a chemical addiction follows. This addiction is rooted in the brain and cannot be prevented by education.
  • Marijuana is not addictive. This is a very popular myth, and it is completely unfounded. Marijuana is addictive both physically and psychologically. Marijuana affects the nervous system and creates a calm, relaxed state of mind that the drug’s users hope to achieve time and time again.
  • When smoked, heroin is not addictive. If you have ever heard this drug use myth, please don’t believe it. Any form of heroin is addictive. The addictive properties of this drug have absolutely nothing to do with what form it is used in.
  • Drug use does not affect work habits. This is definitely a myth. The fact is The Department of Labor reports that drug use costs companies an average of $75 to $100 billion annually. Moreover, as much as sixty-five percent of on the job accidents are directly related to alcohol and drug use. It is one of the biggest contributors to absenteeism, tardiness and decreased productivity in the workplace.
  • Drug use does not have a direct affect on society. It costs society billions each year and is directly related to the expenses surrounding drug-related incarcerations, health care benefits, drug-related crime, loss of productivity and premature deaths.
  • All drugs are equally addictive. Drug use does not affect everyone in the same way, and all drugs are not equally addicting. The addiction potential of any drug is related to the ability of the drug to affect the brain’s pleasure center and the susceptibility of the individual. Drug use will not affect a teen in the same manner it will a grown man. Although many of the symptoms will be the same, the severity and dependence factor will certainly vary.
  • Drug use always leads to dependence. It commonly leads to dependence, but there are exceptions to every rule. Drug use can lead to drug abuse and/or drug dependence, which are two different conditions. There are many users that abuse drugs (an at-will decision) for many years and never become chemically drug dependent.

If you have questions about drug use, abuse or dependence; or if you are looking for a support group or treatment program in your area, contact our toll-free confidential Helpline at . Our supportive staff is here to help you 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Drug use and abuse affects people of all ages, genders and cultures. Unfortunately, each year drug abusers get younger and younger, and will continue to do so unless proper drug prevention programs are successfully implemented. In order to launch successful programs, it is necessary to identify the risk factors associated with drug use and abuse so that all of the issues can be addressed.

Risk Factors of Drug Use

There are many known risk factors associated with drug use and abuse. They are divided into four categories: community, family, school and individual/peer.

Community Risks for Drug Use

  • Living in a high-crime neighborhood plays a significant role in the development of favorable, or at the very least, acceptable attitudes toward crime, violent behavior and drug use and abuse.
  • Communities that are severely poverty stricken are more likely to accept unethical and unlawful behavior. This is especially true when it comes to the sale of illegal drugs.
  • Lack of community & instability can certainly promote the growth of illegal activity in neighborhoods. Communities with active neighborhood watch programs and activities report fewer problems with drug use and abuse. The availability of alcohol, tobacco & drugs in a community is directly related to the number of users and abusers created from that community.

Family Risks for Drug Use

  • Family violence is one of the highest risk factors among youth. Children that come from households that exhibit violence, yelling and fighting often seek comfort where they can get it.
  • Family history of drug use and abuse.
  • Homes with a lack of parental control and supervision.
  • Poor family attachment/bonding
  • Studies have suggested that children from single parent homes may be at higher risk for drug use and abuse.

School Risks for Drug Use

  • Early detection of antisocial or aggressive behaviors
  • Academic failure, especially in the years between late elementary and junior high.
  • Lack of commitment to school
  • Frequent school transitions
  • A negative school environment

Individual/Peer Risks for Drug Use

  • Association with troubled friends
  • Extreme rebelliousness
  • Lack of concern for self care
  • Early detection of problem behavior/smoking & drinking
  • Favorable attitude toward wrong-doing/shows no remorse for actions
  • Peer rejection
  • Gang involvement
  • Teen parents
  • Mental disorders (depression, bipolar etc)

In order to counteract the risk factors listed above, it is imperative that protective factors be implemented early in life. Protective factors include positive reinforcement, parental involvement in school, stable family relationships and communities as well as drug prevention programs.

If you or someone you love is in need of drug use or abuse help, call the Alcohol Abuse Helpline toll-free, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Find confidential help by calling today. You can also contact free narcotics and drug abuse hotline numbers.

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